The race is on for the open District 4 seat on the Board of Education, and both candidates say their interest in the system lies in their grandchildren. Ed Darby and the Rev. Dorothy Hart qualified last week for the seat, according to Phyllis Wheeler, the McDuffie County Board of Elections Superintendent.
Both Mr. Darby and Rev. Hart said they each have five grandchildren in the McDuffie County School system, and that the system is a good one.
"I just want to be a part of something that's already working, and because my grandchildren are still in school," Rev. Hart said.
The District 4 seat was occupied by Nether Ivery until his resignation in May. When she learned the seat was open, Rev. Hart said she thought, "It's open, so why not? This is a chance to be a part of something that's good and already working."
In addition to her grandchildren, Rev. Hart said she graduated from Thomson High, as did her three children. She retired as a program director for the mentally handicapped from the Georgia Department of Human Resources after more than 20 years. Rev. Hart said she has also worked as a substitute teacher in McDuffie and Warren Counties, and worked in a reading program in Dearing through the AmeriCorps program. For the last five years, Rev. Hart has been a pastor of Friendship Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in the Raytown community near Crawfordville.
Mr. Darby said people know him because of his wife, Ann, whom he has been married to for 19 years. Mr. Darby said his wife was born and raised in Thomson, and he has lived here since 1974. Mr. Darby retired as a mine plant production manager with J.M. Huber Corporation.
Mr. Darby said he has thought of running for the school board many times in the past, and the open seat came at a good time.
"I've thought about it before, but always had to work. I'm retired now, so I have time to do it," he said.
Like his opponent, Mr. Darby said he has no qualms with the school system.
"I have grandchildren in the schools, so I know it's a good school system," he said. "I want to keep it a good system. Of course, I'd definitely like to improve it, but I will have to wait and get in there and see how things are."
The District 4 seat is elected by residents who vote at the Depot poll. Election day is from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19. Early voting will be Monday, Sept. 11 through Friday, Sept. 15 at the Board of Elections office in the courthouse. For more information on voting, call the Board of Elections at 706-595-2105.